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Planning a RAS project? Be Aware of These Unique Managerial Challenges

Shai Silbermann | VP Marketing & Sales


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Interest in Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) land-based fish production technology is increasing as its benefits are becoming more widely recognized. As a wave of new projects come to fruition, it becomes critically important to address the range of managerial challenges that might arise for those developing these projects.

Experience and Industry Specialization

One of the key elements determining the success of a RAS facility is its management. Professional and experienced facility management is crucial for the facility’s success. Although the importance of good management applies to all types of projects, across industries, the exceptional nature of projects employing RAS technology brings unique, industry-specific challenges for those managing them.

Employee Training

Employee training for RAS systems is a particularly challenging issue, as there are very few people with experience in operating these complex systems. Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever to connect with a provider of RAS technology that can offer assistance in establishing a system for recruiting, training, and coaching your RAS team.  AquaMaof offers this service to its customers on a long-term, ongoing basis along with periodic training in RAS technology advancements.

Biosecurity Management

In RAS facilities it’s extremely important to ensure and maintain a tight biosecurity protocol. Neglecting this important aspect could result in a great loss of fish and, hence, of revenue. This is why the staff and management team operating your RAS facility need to be up-to-date and properly trained on how to keep your facility biosecured. Today, some RAS technology providers, among them AquaMaof, provide detailed instructions and hands-on training for maintaining biosecurity protocols. It is advisable for your RAS facility’s management to ensure that biosecurity protocols are meticulously implemented and, if new issues arise, they should contact their technology provider to properly troubleshoot solutions.

Professional Procurement Management

RAS facilities require procurement activities that are unique and intricate, and these too have a critical impact on the success of the facility. These activities include the purchase of feed, eggs or fingerlings (depending on the type of fish being produced), salt, oxygen, and more. There are dozens of suppliers in these areas that offer supplies at a range of prices and quality. Successful management of your RAS facility requires effective market research in order to gain a complete understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of available products, which have a direct effect on the facility’s production results. To facilitate our clients’ success, AquaMaof provides a detailed protocol for all required procurements for RAS facilities. We also offer our clients service packages, including a multidisciplinary panel of experts to help and guide you in selecting the right supplier.

Maintenance Management

It is of utmost importance that RAS facilities, as well as their integrated systems and subsystems, are properly maintained according to user manuals and protocols, as directed by the technology provider and equipment supplier’s guidelines. In order to help our customers with this managerial task, AquaMaof provides a central monitoring and control system to assist clients in managing the maintenance of their RAS facility.

Supply Chain Management

RAS facilities allow for fish production on-land and close to markets, thereby completely changing the rules of the game with regard to supply chains within the industry. RAS technology and facilities have made industry supply chains much shorter and significantly less cumbersome. At the same time, building such a chain can be challenging for a management team that is unfamiliar with the new methods RAS technology brings with it.

New challenges arise from the year-round production of fish, proximity to the market requiring alternative storage solutions, new processing methods derived from the freshness of the fish, and more. It is important to establish a supply chain before the construction of your RAS facility, and experience in RAS systems management will certainly prove useful here.

Facility Operation and Task Management

It is necessary for RAS facility staff and management to perform day-to-day as well as unique operational tasks in order to successfully operate and manage their RAS facilities. From adhering to the protocols of the technology provider, strict monitoring and control of water quality, to quick and professional reactions to unexpected contingencies in the operation of the facility, all responses must be carried out in a professional and informed manner. Moreover, it is advisable for RAS facility managers to establish operational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs must be very closely monitored any deviations from these KPIs must be identified immediately, and promptly investigated.

AquaMaof is aware of these challenges and offers operational support to our customers to ensure that proper operation of their RAS facility is maintained and the facility will enjoy commercial success.

The Bottom Line

Facility management is a challenging issue in all industries, but in the case of RAS facilities, the challenge is significant, especially because finding professional managerial staff with adequate experience in RAS systems is rare. Hence, it is of great importance to choose a technology provider that can offer end-to-end support in all the unique aspects of RAS facility management.

At AquaMaof our in-house services include recruiting and training your RAS facility staff, professional assistance in multiple areas of procurement, biosecurity, and maintenance, as well as the management of day-to-day operations. Building your RAS facility is not a guarantee of its success. The long-term success of your RAS facility is very much dependent on its proper management.

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